THE SEA-WOLF AND THE LOGIC OF OPPRESSION

lupodeimari

 

This morning on TV I saw an old movie, THE SEA-WOLF, played by the great actor Edward G. Robinson. The film was nothing but the film version of a novel by Jack London: a story that reflects much of his adventurous life, mainly as a seaman.

In the film, as well as in the book, there is a bitter and terrible vision of life. On the ship, the captain (Wolf Larsen) exercises his power with arrogance, with extreme aggression: his way of managing the ship is characterized by his egocentrism, his not caring at all for the dignity of the people who depend on him. He just wants to humiliate, mortify, demean and he does this with unbelievable violence.

The crew, made this way by him to follow his example, always try to enforce the law of the strongest: so the partner becomes only an opponent to destroy, to submit, thinking only of the own advantage more than the good of the whole crew.

This way we see decreasing (for murder, for suicide) the number of those who are on the vessel: people who are there by personal choice, and even by accident, as there is also the episode of the rescue of a group of castaways. But those who disappear may also be very valuable for the good of all, and this is not taken into account whatsoever.

Let’s face it: these things are normal routine, always, and not only for those who sail the seas: eliminate those who work with you to be the only one and excel is an age-old custom. Maybe not at such extremes as those described in the book of London.

However, one thing I always say is: the fact you want to delete one who disturbs you, one you believe is a nuisance, means a reckless act in a group. The brutality which stands in the oppression of the other, at any cost, means depriving the group of an individual who, with his qualities, could do much, give much for the team to grow and to better.

It is the deviant logic of bullying and mobbing, a phenomenon against which I have been waging a battle for a long time; however, it seems that those to whom I speak are refractory to this subject. I believe it is due to the fact that, in general, the bully, the executioner, is most welcome than the victim: anyone, if asked, is ready to condemn the despotism and the oppression from one or a few individuals; in practice, however, they are on the side of the torturer, on the side of the strongest, because he  is the winner. The victim is a loser: an example that average people tend not to imitate and, above all, that they avoid.

 

Francis Allenby

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